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This Perfect Day

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  5,075 Ratings  ·  467 Reviews
The story is set in a seemingly perfect global society. Uniformity is the defining feature; there is only one language and all ethnic groups have been eugenically merged into one race called “The Family.” The world is ruled by a central computer called UniComp that has been programmed to keep every single human on the surface of the earth in check. People are continually d ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 368 pages
Published February 1st 1991 by Bantam (first published 1970)
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Heather There is minor violence and some sexual content (including the idea that it's a socially approved practice for the 12+ year olds to engage in…moreThere is minor violence and some sexual content (including the idea that it's a socially approved practice for the 12+ year olds to engage in recreational intercourse without emotional relationships in the society of the novel). It's not a major part of the plot, but is in there, and would probably require some discussion about why it is advisable in that society but generally frowned upon in ours.

(There is also one scene - and while not giving away a major plot point, may be considered a spoiler, so continue reading knowing that - in which a character rapes another and ends with the woman falling in love with the man who attacked her. Again, it's not a major part of the plot, but definitely is worthy discussion, esp. since the author doesn't do much moralizing, just tells the story and lets the reader draw conclusions.)(less)
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins1984 by George OrwellThe Giver by Lois LowryDivergent by Veronica RothBrave New World by Aldous Huxley
Best Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
112th out of 2,653 books — 20,830 voters
1984 by George OrwellThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsBrave New World by Aldous HuxleyFahrenheit 451 by Ray BradburyThe Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
62nd out of 934 books — 2,410 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jan 25, 2008 Lauren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lauren by: my dad
Shelves: fiction
I am not the type of person who rereads books. In fact, I never reread books. Except this one. I pick it up every couple of years. This is A Brave New World but so much better. So much realer. Unfortunately, it is now out of print. But maybe with the author's recent passing, they will bring it back soon. But if you ever see it in a used book store, pick it up and buy it. Don't think. Just walk over to the cash register and buy it. Then go home and read it. You'll thank me.
May 30, 2016 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Completed way back in June, 1969, Ira Levin's novel THIS PERFECT DAY introduces a futuristic colony with a computer at the helm where everyone is programmed to be cold and lifeless, and everyone, as a member of the "family" is monitored throughout the day.

"Even the basic facts of nature are subject to the Unicomp's will ----- men do not grow facial hair, women do not develop breasts, and it only rains at night."

Lots of action and some pretty cool twists along the way keep things from becoming

This 1971 novel presents an early imaginative vision of a computer controlled dystopian society masquerading as a utopia. It’s more in the tradition of Brave New World than 1984 in that thought control is not by propaganda but by all intrusive counselors and drugs. The Soma in this tale goes beyond rendering pleasure and a sense of contentment, but pacifies by dampening emotions and curiosity. As in Huxley’s masterpiece, promiscuity is encouraged adding to a populace of happy, shiny people who k ...more
Hazel Benson
I'm kind of sorry to give this book two stars, because it is a very good story and in it's own way a good addition to the dystopian genre. I've read two other Ira Levin books before this one; 'A Kiss Before Dying' and 'Rosemary's Baby' and enjoyed both of those, and I will go on and read other works of his. My niggles with it are personal ones which I felt were unnecessary and unrealistic. Even dated maybe.


So, for me to explain my problems with this book I have to talk about the story.
Christ, Marx, Wood and Wei
Led us to this perfect day

Marx, Wood, Wei and Christ
All but Marx were sacrificed

Wood, Wei, Christ and Marx
Gave us lovely schools and parks

Wei, Christ, Marx and Wood
Made us humble, made us good.
- dystopian future world child's bouncing song
Artnoose Noose
Feb 27, 2009 Artnoose Noose rated it did not like it
This is the March book for the Pittsburgh Dystopian Science Fiction Club. Before I get to anything else, I'm going to address the problematic gender dynamics in this book. I think one of the things that has often turned me off to science fiction in the past has been the dude factor, which I find extensively in this book. Maybe I just don't like it when straight men write sex scenes. At any rate, let me tell the world this: the "incredibly hot chick falls in love with me after I rape her" storyli ...more
Thomas Strömquist
I think it is impossible to review this book and not mention 1984, Brave New World, We and Kallocain. Levin's book fares well in this company as I think this is one of his best.

One mighty family
A single perfect breed
Free of all selfishness
Aggressiveness and greed

Each member giving
All he has to give
And getting back
All he needs to live

Christ, Marx, Wei and Wood
Made us humble, made us good
Christ, Marx, Wood and Wei
Lead us to this perfect day
Dec 05, 2012 Jenny rated it it was ok
I'm not writing this review for anyone other than my nerd friends that check my Goodreads page, so don't be surprised by my lack of literary genius...

I'll only spoil the one thing that should be spoiled- and it's the same one thing that everyone references. The main character (Chip) ends up raping the woman he's in love with (Lilac) to prove to her that she's being brainwashed by the government and to get her to trust him. Reading a lackluster book for three days only to discover that you hate t
Allison Doyle
Aug 23, 2011 Allison Doyle rated it it was amazing
*sigh* I love this book. I recommend this book to people when they ask me for a sci-fi suggestion & I'm assuming they've read the ABC's (that's Asimov, Bradbury, and Clarke) and perhaps haven't been introduced to Levin. This is oft-compared to "1984" and "Brave New World" -- and I could rave about "Brave New World," especially since this was originally published in the 1970s so it wasn't breaking into the same future-predicting, but for some reason, this story & Chip (the main character) ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
"You are only partly alive. We can help you more than you can imagine."

I had never heard of this book before it was selected for an SFF Audio Readalong discussion, and I think I liked it more after we talked about it for an hour or so.

There is a lot to think about here. The novel is in four sections and quite a bit of it has hints of other dystopias - the community with scheduled sex and neighbor-reporting is similar to We, the drugging of society feels like Brave New World, and I was completel
Jun 18, 2012 Ivan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

I’ll admit right up front that I’m not a fan of dystopian fiction. However, I am a fan of Ira Levin (both his novels and his plays). “This Perfect Day” was published in 1970 – after his play “Dr Cook’s Garden” (1967) and before his novels “The Stepford Wives” (1972) and “The Boys from Brazil” (1978). I site these three works because they too deal with issues of creating the “perfect” society through euthanasia, genetic engineering or cloning.

Set far in the future the entire world is under the
Patrick Gibson
May 26, 2011 Patrick Gibson rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This is a cult classic (1970’s) apparently out of print for a long time. I first read about this novel in a recent magazine praising the fact it was now available in the e format. I looked a little further and found this novel universally praised to the highest degree. So high, in fact, I grabbed my Kindle and hit ‘buy now.’

While overshadowed by more popular dystopia novels like 1984 and Brave New World, I think this book is the most powerful of its genre. As the novel begins, the entire human
Heather Crews
Aug 08, 2010 Heather Crews rated it it was amazing
This is one of my absolute favorite books of all time. Do yourself and favor and read it if you haven't before. I pick it up and reread it every couple of years, and I think I always notice something new in the story....but that may just be because my view on life changes over the years, and thus I come at it from a different approach.
It is very much in the vein of other books that deal with the concept of a futuristic dystopian world, i.e, Brave New World, 1984, and Logan's Run.
It was out OOP
Apr 19, 2015 C rated it did not like it
A ripoff of Brave New World, only with more racism, heteronormativity, and rape. Seriously, all the drugged dull masses are tan-skinned, slant- eyed communists, and the ~truly alive aware hero of this story and his first love interest are unusual for having white features (pale skin and 1 green eye). The protagonist kidnaps a woman he's obsessed with, rapes her, and afterwards she tells him "don't feel bad about it, it was natural, you woke me up," and she becomes his pregnant nagging housewife ...more
Rebecca McNutt
Apr 27, 2015 Rebecca McNutt rated it it was amazing

The whole plot and the themes of this book are frightening; basically it's about people going through the motions of living without really living, people being stupefied and controlled by the very system they created.Ira Levin, the author who brought us the horror of Rosemary's Baby and The Stepford Wives, has yet another frightening and at the same time eye-opening book out there, one that everyone should get to read at least once.
Clark Hallman
Sep 10, 2012 Clark Hallman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I first read This Perfect Day in 1970 after it was recommended to me by my good friends Janice and Betty. It is an anti-conformist story about a future where society and all individuals in it are controlled by Uni, a vast computer. Uni controlls everything including the weather, what jobs and careers people are allowed to pursue, when people are allowed to have sex, whether they are able to have children, where and when they can take vacations, what they can eat, what they can buy, and when they ...more
Ralph McEwen
May 07, 2010 Ralph McEwen rated it really liked it
What makes This Perfect Day a must read is the depth of the main character. The author reveals him to us gradually -- as the character becomes less drugged/more cogent, we know and care about him even more. The scanners and bracelets remind me of the RFID cards and readers we have today, slightly disturbing. The world development was interesting enough to explore and give thought to. One of the better dystopian novels I've read
Aug 03, 2012 Nova rated it it was amazing
Although this book has been compared to Brave New World et cetera...It is first and foremost a thoughtful and engaging thriller laced with humour. While I was reading this at the tender age of fourteen, I couldn't help but visualize the scenes so clearly...Ira Levin taught me the importance of dialogue and having fleshed out characters. I must have read this book over fifty times since it came out because I love imagining I was there...What would I do? Would I have the strength of Chip? In these ...more
Feb 27, 2015 regina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of sci-fi and great lit
Recommended to regina by: my husband
I'm surprised at the low rating many have given this classic.

What makes This Perfect Day a must read is not just a well-crafted, twisting plot and setting, but the depth of the main character. The author reveals him to us gradually -- as the character becomes less drugged/more cogent, we know and care about him even more.

The style of writing, although in the past tense and 3rd person, achieves an immediacy that transports the reader to the setting and action as it happens. For instance, as Chi
Dec 05, 2010 Skip rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This novel by Ira Levin is about a utopian society where treatments help maintain a stable society, but at what cost? Protagonist Li (or Chip as he prefers to be known) is uncertain about the sameness, and eventually joins a counterculture trying to change things. Good characters, good plot twists, and a very good read. Highly recommended.
Jan 29, 2016 Marcia rated it really liked it
This Perfect Day schetst een bizarre toekomst waarin een computersysteem het leven van haar inwoners bepaalt – zo beslist UniComp bijvoorbeeld over je baan en je partner. Er bestaan maar vier jongensnamen (Li, Bob, Jezus en Karl) en vier meisjesnamen (Yin, Peace, Mary en Anna). Iedereen ziet er hetzelfde uit – door genetische manipulatie via maandelijkse injecties – en er bestaan geen landen meer; iedereen is onderdeel van De Familie en houdt zich braaf aan alle regeltjes.

Ik heb enorm genoten va
May 03, 2013 Caitlin rated it liked it
Review copy provided by Open Road. Originally reviewed at

The trouble with classics and parents of a genre is that they often use tropes that are very common to the modern reader, or tropes that are outright nauseating due to values dissonance. Even if these things were acceptable and new when the book was written, a modern audience may struggle.
I struggled with this book. It’s not that I’m a girl with no love for the classics and no ability to look beyond the demands or the
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 21, 2010 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Lovers of Dystopian Fiction
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: Prometheus Award
I tell people I don't like dystopias, then I go and read them again and again. What can I say? There are a lot of good ones--including this one, even if it's not a great one. Atwood of A Handmaid's Tale is the strongest living prose stylist I've read. Ayn Rand's Anthem (don't sneer) is almost a prose poem--even two liberal friends of mine admit to liking it. Huxley's Brave New World and Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 both have many striking, quotable lines. And Orwell's 1984 has so many phrases that ...more
Mar 23, 2013 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dystopian novels are all the rage these days, so I figured I’d give this one another look…

This Perfect Day is Levin’s third novel, following the exquisitely structured and perfectly paced A Kiss Before Dying and the similarly fantastic Rosemary’s Baby. TPD is a longer narrative than either of the first two, and a much more complicated story. While it’s certainly not bad, it doesn’t measure up to the first two, or to Levin’s next, The Stepford Wives. Levin’s sparse, direct prose is always a joy
Vrixton Phillips
May 30, 2011 Vrixton Phillips rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 27, 2007 Caroline rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 07, 2010 Yvensong rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dystopia readers
3 1/2 Stars

This character-driven dystopia had very good character development and a rather frightening view of a possible future for all of mankind. In the minds of the developers of the society, this was Utopia. In the minds of not such a small group of people in today's world, the world in this novel may appear Utopian. No war, no need for guns, no over-population -- but the price to pay = no freedom of choice, of any kind, ensured by constant injections of drugs.

There was only factor in this
Aug 07, 2009 Tim rated it liked it
Dystopia for a younger crowd. People who rave about this less-than-perfect book smack of piousness. The author is a master of suspense who took a decent crack at sci-fi writing - and that's it. As a group, sci-fi readers aren't particularly discerning, and rarely flinch at the gaping plot holes of the novels that they adore. I've now read all of Levin's titles, and I enjoyed his sly suggestion in this one that neither side of the conflict makes a convincing case for supremacy. But all the hue-an ...more
Nov 17, 2014 Alyson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book looked good on the 'quick choice' shelves in the library and although I'm not a huge science fiction fan I do read some occasionally.

This book is definitely worth reading. A great critique on human society, now and in the possible future. It is very real science fiction - real characters, believable technology, believable situations. I'm mainly a shallow reader so I probably missed lots of the themes about what the author was saying, but it was a great story, good plot twists, and a p
Dec 30, 2015 Jeremy rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club, ebooks, own
A non violent utopian society run by an omnipotent computer called Uni. If not for the mediocre writing/plotting, this could have been interesting. The concept was intriguing. Part 1 was hard to get through--so much was going on, and barely anything was explained. I hate when I have to struggle to figure out where/when I am. Add to that the simple style of the writing--he said and she saids galore!--and it makes for a very rough start. The plot, however, does pick up in Part 2, with some interes ...more
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Levin graduated from the Horace Mann School and New York University, where he majored in philosophy and English.

After college, he wrote training films and scripts for television.

Levin's first produced play was No Time for Sergeants (adapted from Mac Hyman's novel), a comedy about a hillbilly drafted into the United States Air Force that launched the career of Andy Griffith. The play was turned int
More about Ira Levin...

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“Being happy or unhappy - is that really the most important thing? Knowing the truth would be a different kind of happiness - a more satisfying kind, I think, even if it turned out to be a sad kind.” 28 likes
“You are only partly alive.” 10 likes
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